Saturday, May 1, 2004

Cemetery restoration taught


Old graves often found; markers need proper care

By Brenna R. Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer

BURLINGTON - More than 170 cemeteries dot Boone County, and those are just the ones known to exist.

Matt Becher, the county's rural/open space planner, gets about one call a month reporting a cemetery.

"Usually it will be someone who goes to develop a subdivision or industrial park and they will come across a gravestone," he said.

To teach people how to care for historic cemeteries, the Boone County Historic Preservation Review Board is holding a cemetery restoration workshop.

"In every old cemetery, the stones could stand to be washed," Becher said.

On May 15, the review board and Kentucky Historical Society will teach people the right way to wash stones at the Old Burlington Cemetery on Bullittsville Road.

Different types of stones need to be cleaned with different solutions. The wrong solution or harsh chemicals could damage the stones and their inscriptions.

The graves in Old Burlington date to about 1815. Buried there is Israel Gilpin, who fought in the Revolutionary War and died in 1834 at age 94, and James Rouse, who died more than 130 years ago. The 200 gravestones bear familiar Boone County names such as Tousey.

In addition to cleaning stones, participants will learn how to repair and reset toppled or broken gravestones, Becher said.

"We have it set up so that people can come and go," Becher said.

The Preservation Review Board plans to do even more work in the cemetery over the next year. The board received a $10,000 grant from the Kentucky Cemetery Preservation Fund, part of the Kentucky Department of Local Governments, to finish installing a fence at the cemetery, repair broken iron fencing, have some of the gravestones reset and acquire a historical marker.

The board still needs to raise $1,430 in matching funds for the grant.

Boone County is one of just two counties in the state that has a local cemetery protection ordinance.

Developers are required to preserve the cemetery with a 30-foot buffer and fence it in.

E-mail bkelly@enquirer.com




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